“Life asked Death, why do people love me, but hate you?

Death replied, because you are a beautiful lie, and I am a painful truth”- Author Unknown

I could not find the original source of the above quote, but it was an interesting take on life and death. 

Unfortunately, in our lives we may not have the opportunity to voice our feelings and often we do not want to be a burden on others, so we remain silent. 

Theories on grief and loss help us understand what the emotional journey may be like and as a bereavement specialist and therapist, reading them has helped me to collaborate successfully with children and their families throughout the process.

The nature of the death and the relationship of the individuals involved can inform the grieving process. Being able to explain to families what they may expect to go through is often welcomed by people who can be overwhelmed by the loss and the pain it brings. 

When asked if I think a child or a grown-up needs therapeutic intervention, often, I say not yet. I may encourage this if the natural grieving process is complicated, for reasons such as generational family issues, or if the death has been because of tragic circumstances such as suicide or violence.

Peoples experiences of death can vary and what one person goes through may be different to others. Similar emotions and feelings are common with but every person who is bereaved will find their own way to manage this. As individuals we should remember self-care is the important key to this process. If we are the person directly involved, we must take life at a gentler pace and if we are the supporter of the person, we will put in place our own self-care strategies.

Developing good listening skills is important. Offering our opinions can often be unhelpful but providing information on support services is better. I have written about, and I have discussions with adults who are trying to help children face the death of a pet, an ill relative, or a friend and there are many support resources leaflets, books etc. available about death and loss that can be shared with children which I recommend.

Helpful Resources

The Irish Childhood Bereavement Network website:

The Irish Childhood Bereavement Network

icbn@hospicefoundation.ie   Tel .016793188  twitter@ICBNIrl

Barnardo’s website:

Barnardos Children’s Charity | Barnardos Ireland

Winston’s Wish:

Winston’s Wish – giving hope to grieving children (winstonswish.org)

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